GIRL HUB AFRICA is a household name and hub for Volunteers who have a zeal for volunteering. Founder, Tobby Gusi discovered her passion at a very tender age and nursed her dream to the success it is today. She also kicked off an annual Volunteers summit which gained National attendance earlier this year. This focus driven and passionate young woman is living the dream life at her age and would stop at nothing to spread the gospel of “volunteering”. Enjoy her interview with EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE:
EM- PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF BRIEFLY TO EM…
GUSI TOBBY LORDWILLIAMS – My name is Gusi Tobby Lordwilliams. I am a woman who seeks to find positive change in young African youths by living selflessly. Through Girl Hub Africa, I’m providing a solution to some of my generations most significant challenges, with a platform created to reduce unemployment by exposing young African youths to volunteering.
EM- YOU HAVE BEEN IN YOUR FIELD FOR HOW LONG?
GTL- I have been volunteering since I was 5 years old (The age I can remember), my parents exposed my sisters and I to the act of serving selflessly. I have been a professional volunteer since my first year in University and I continue to actively pursue my passion.
EM- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD?
GTL- From my personal experiences as a volunteer, I realized early enough that the best way to find purpose is to loose yourself in service to others. More often than not, you’ll hear people say they have a 9 to 5 job, simple because they are working based on their qualification, however, they don’t enjoy nor have passion for that career, so they’ll rather work for the pay than work passionately. And most times there’s a side hustle they have a passion for, but if these youths are exposed early enough to volunteering which will help them explore various career paths, they gain meaningful experiences as well as find the career where they can positively make an impact not just working for the money, we’ll have more workers who are passionate about their jobs than the paychecks.
For example, I’ve always been a passionate advocate of people – and so that has led me into the profession of law where I feel I can best defend those who can’t.
My venturing into this career path was divine as I identified the problem of unemployment, unexposure and lack of self esteem (to mention but a few) among the youths in my community.
I strongly believe without doubt that VOLUNTEERISM is the way forward and it should be added to the education curriculum in the country.
EM – TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED?
GTL- I started out volunteering for social clubs back in the university. I volunteered for all and every opportunity that came my way and offered a meaningful experience no matter the field or sector. I always give 100% when volunteering, from my appearance to knowledge of the task, I give my all irrespective of pay, I enjoy doing it and that has helped in shaping me into who I am today. I also have my Volunteering Experience Diary for every opportunity I had to volunteer, I write it down, no matter how intangible someone else thought the experience was. Lastly, I knew I was investing in myself while I was volunteering, so I make a constant effort to grow myself by reading constantly and researching online consistently.
EM – YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN THE SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL?
GTL- God has been the champion of my growth. While, I have a passion which is to expose African youths to Volunteerism as a lifestyle, I have also stayed faithful to the cause without deviating. Consistency, continuous investment in yourself is key.
EM – EVERY BUSINESS MINDED SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A STORY, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE?
GTL – First and foremost “FUNDING,” this is always a challenge for most startups and nonprofits. Secondly, the difficulty of convincing young African youths to give their time selflessly, coupled with the recession and economic meltdown placed a lot of pressure on recruitment. By putting out testimonies from our volunteers, sharing their experiences and benefits; encouraged most people to see the importance and benefits of VOLUNTEERISM. As a result, we are now over 300 members across Nigeria.
EM- WHAT SETS YOU APART?
GTL – I am very innovative and passionate about my niche. I believe my personality and ability to be selfless at all times as well as to understand every circumstance by deliberately making a positive impact from every given opportunity.
EM – YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
GTL – “GHAVS,” (Girl Hub Africa Volunteers) a group of women, inspire and motivate me to become better. I gain a lot of inspiration watching them serve selflessly irrespective of their social status and educational qualifications. My mentor, Mrs. Esther Ijewere is also an inspiration to me, she is “Selflessness at its peak,” whenever I see her work, give or impact without expecting anything in return moves me to action.
EM- WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
GTL- Passion! Passion motivates me for creating testimonies in the lives of young African youths and the knowledge that I am developing their gifts which will help them achieve their purpose and become a success.
EM- PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL WITH EM?
GTL- My biggest secret is that not all work that leads to success comes from money. As a volunteer I derive success from investing in people and giving back while not receiving any form of payment.
While I’m passionate about my volunteering I also ensure that the negativity I encounter from critics doesn’t discourage me, thus allowing me to be successful. If there are people who have been successful and have been tagged a success in their various fields, I want to be one of such persons in my own field of volunteering.
EM- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO MODERN DAY LADIES AND YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW?
GTL- 1) Learn to keep your eyes on the goal and don’t be scared to explore as many opportunities as possible.
2) Have a vision, work towards it and be consistent with it until the vision is accomplished.
3) Lastly be willing to strive for growth.